Fresno, Calif. - A group of Thai Americans from Los Angeles brought flowers and praise for Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. To honor her department's efforts to recover the bodies of a young Thai man and woman trapped in the wreckage of their car that plunged 500 feet into the Kings River on July 25th.
"We are not aggressive or blaming anybody, we just come to ask them for help, please help, that's all. Please help, do anything to take them out," said Sriwong Ayasit.
The families of the victims have been upset about the apparent inability of rescuers to remove the bodies. But Sheriff Mims explained the canyon and raging river make a safe recovery impossible.
"My commitment and priority is to recover the victims while at the same time minimizing the chances of creating any further victims, adding to this already tragic event," Mims said.
Mims says the car is trapped in rapids, between steep canyon walls and just above waterfalls. A helicopter could pull the car out, but personnel could not get to the car to attach cables. She said the situation is being monitored round the clock.
"I believe that as the water level recedes we will eventually proceed with a safe, respectful and successful recovery," Mims said.
The situation is the same for another car believed to be in the water on the same stretch of canyon. The two people in that car, a married couple from San Diego are believed to have been killed when their car went over the cliff on August 5th.
"It is strange to have two cars in very close proximity to one another in that particular stretch of the river."
The Sheriff's department has not been able to confirm the second car, but an Action News photographer found a license plate from the rental car they were driving while filming the scene of the first wreckage.
Families and friends of both couples now left waiting.
"And please try to do as soon as possible. We understand, the weather, everything, the water. We just here to thank you," Ayasit said.